WASHINGTON, DC – The pilots of American Eagle Airlines, Inc., represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, (ALPA), have reached an agreement with American Eagle management to preserve pilot jobs and reduce pilot furloughs.
Last month, Gerard Arpey, American Airlines chairman and CEO, announced a capacity reduction throughout the AMR system, including up to 65 aircraft to be parked at American Eagle Airlines, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR.
Capt. Herb Mark, chairman of the American Eagle pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC), led a team of union officers who engaged American Eagle management on a number of solutions which serve to reduce the number of pilot furloughs. These include voluntary leaves of absences and part-time flying.
“The primary mission of the American Eagle ALPA MEC has always been to protect our pilots at all costs,” said Capt. Mark. “AMR’s most recent announcements have underscored the necessity of the pilots’ membership in a strong union.”
A central issue in the discussions was American Airlines’ outsourcing of regional flying in the St. Louis hub to Trans States Airlines (TSA) and Chautauqua Airlines. This outsourcing has been a sensitive issue with American Eagle pilots and the union had filed grievances against the company over the transferring of flying.
Following last month’s announcement of capacity reductions at the AMR shareholders meeting, the pilot union was able to work collaboratively with management to successfully return to American Eagle the outsourced “capacity purchase” flying currently performed by Trans States Airlines.
“We made it clear that AMR could not allow Eagle’s flying to be outsourced while its own employees were in jeopardy of losing jobs,” said Capt. Dave Ryter, vice chairman of the American Eagle MEC.
As a result of ALPA and American Eagle management’s efforts, the ten Embraer 145 aircraft currently leased to TSA will be returned to American Eagle Airlines. The transfer process will begin in early 2009, and continue at a rate of approximately two aircraft per month.
“While our primary mission is to defend the jobs and livelihoods of the pilots we represent, we understand that this will have a significant impact on our fellow ALPA pilots at Trans States Airlines,” said Capt. Ryter. “Our MEC will continue to work closely with the Trans States Airlines MEC to assist in whatever way we can. Management’s decisions to outsource always result in employees being hurt.”
“While the return of ten Embraer 145 aircraft represents a savings of approximately 100 Eagle pilot jobs, there is still more work to be done,” said Capt. Mark. “Working together with your labor groups can produce more productive results than working against them. We urge American Eagle management to continue this trend.”
“The industry is facing daunting challenges, and it will be critical for management to regain the trust, loyalty and commitment of its employees,” Capt. Mark added. “Even in this time of crisis, Eagle management has an opportunity to invest in its pilots and invest in the future of this airline.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. With more than 2,800 pilots, American Eagle is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR and provides feed to American Airlines, as well as point-to-point service in North America and the Caribbean.